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Learning Layers goes to Bau-ABC Rostrup – Part 4: How are we trying to develop our work further?

June 15th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my three previous posts I have firstly discussed the forthcoming consortium meeting of the Learning Layers (LL) project in Bau-ABC Rostrup. Secondly, I have recapitulated the experiences we have made with project activities in Bau-ABC. Thirdly, I have given a picture of our joint efforts to develop successful outreach activities in the German construction sector and in the surrounding regional contexts.

Altogether, these have been preparatory steps that have helped me to raise the question: How can we use the meeting in Bau-ABC to help us to develop our work in the LL project  further?

For a complex European interdisciplinary project with ambitions in Research, Technology and Development and with emphasis on implementing and scaling up innovations in SME clusters (and with focus on two sectors) this is not a trivial question. And especially, when we think of the work of the whole consortium, it is even more complex. Let us firstly look back, what kind of journey we have made together as a whole consortium, what we have achieved and what we might still be missing in our work:

  • Firstly, in the initial work plan we expected the first year to be chacarcterised by creative diversity whilst the second should be shaped as an integrative phase. We have gone through the process of setting up  four overarching design agendas and the emergence of a more differentiated set of development projects. We then had the Integration Meeting in Aachen with an intensive technical integration agenda and Theory Camp which helped us to get a better overview on, what all is going on.
  • Secondly, we have to admit that the transition to Development Projects has not created a general clarity on the processes and resources. (This has become even more problematic when one major technical partner left the project and the process of engaging the replacement has not been completed.) Therefore, we have to pay more attention to overcoming gaps of knowledge and communication to get our resources mobilised into joint efforts.
  • Thirdly, we have not discussed strongly enough the importance of user-friendly and user-relevant solutions when moving on to the implementation and scaling up phases. Here we seem to have differences in perception between partners who have engaged themselves heavily in fieldwork (co-design workshops, multimedia training, stakeholder talks and pilot implementation) and others who have had less encounters with users. It is worthwhile to note that progress with user engagement (e.g. during the Brunnenbauertage and in the follow-up) tends to bring new challenges and time pressures for the development work.

In the light of the above we have tried to organise our work somewhat differently to avoid a tendency of particularisation. This is especially the case with the Day Two workshops. In these workshops we will have a closer look at the Sustainability scenarios and how to develop our activities sustainability with the help of mid-term roadmaps. The Scenario groups will rotate through different Round Tables (topic tables) and discuss different aspects of the roadmap. With this exercise we want to get a clearer picture on the following issues:

  • Key initiatives that are instrumental for achieving sustainability within each scenario (Construction, Healthcare, Organised clusters, OSS communities);
  • Technical support that is needed to bring the initiatives into maturity (taking into account the users’ interests and ICT- & Web-related capabilities);
  • Partners’ commitments to ensure that we are mobilising all available resources to support joint initiatives.

Whilst the main emphasis is given on the work of the Sustainability scenario groups that are developing the roadmaps, the Round Tables (topic tables) serve as interim stations to address the following issues (as indicated in the agenda on the LL Wiki):

  • Round table 1 – Capacity building, training, and stakeholder engagement (Which tools are ready for demonstrating to stakeholders? What materials / processes do we need to engage stakeholders with our tools? what is the roadmap of other planned capacity building, training and engagement activities and how can we ensure that the tools are ready by that time and usable?)
  • Round table 2 – Learning stories – Coming up with a Learning Story that connects tools and practices to a integrated story (that development teams can work with, where we identify missing links and we develop further for the review)
  • Round table 3 – New collaboration initiatives and spin-out projects with stakeholders
  • Round table 4 – Developing Layers offerings

     

I think this is enough of a “sneak preview” on the forthcoming LL Consortium meeting in Bau-ABC Rostrup. I hope that this series of blogs has helped us to warm up for the exercise. At the same time I hope that the postings have given those who will not be there a better chance to catch up when we are reporting of results. But that we can only do after the hard work of the coming days.

More posts to come (after the event) …

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